The Pet Owner's Primer to Health Insurance

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Taking your pet to the see the veterinarian can be a huge expense, sometimes costing several hundred or thousands of dollars. And that does not include the extra expenses of medication, hospitalization, and maintenance. If your pet has a chronic illness such as diabetes or cancer, you are in for a lifetime of expensive bills. You may need to seek financial help every time your pet gets sick. But, we know your pet is a part of the family and you would spend as much as you have to in order to make your companion well again. With pet insurance, you can take the sting out of those bills and some of them even pay out life insurance to help with burial costs when needed. The packages range from monthly payments of $4 to $15 for Accident Only plans, $20 to $40 for Accident Plus Illness, and $30 to $60 for Lifetime plans, with some that include life insurance.

 

Accident Only

Accident Only includes any type of accident, from a broken leg to a head injury. Most of the plans include diagnostic tests such as blood tests, imaging (x-rays, MRI, CT scans, ultrasounds), and special tests like endoscopies and electrocardiographs (EKG). However, many of the policies have a fixed amount that will be paid out for each type of injury. You will be responsible for paying anything over that amount. Also, some types of injuries are not covered at all. Additionally, there may be an annual deductible between $10 to $1000. These policies usually have a 12 month limit and you will have to renew your policy every year. You have to read the policy carefully before deciding on which insurance plan to choose.

Accident Plus Illness

This type of insurance plan may be called an Essential or Basic plan, depending on the company. The coverage varies a great deal, with some companies paying 100% of the bill for anything including hereditary and chronic illnesses, to some that only pay a percentage of the bill and do not cover hereditary and chronic illnesses. Some companies will pay for any kind of treatment, including experimental and alternative treatments, while others only cover certain basic treatments. These plans usually have an annual deductible up to $1000 and a maximum payout amount.

Lifetime

The Lifetime plan is the one that provides the most extensive coverage for your pet, but also costs the most money. A lifetime policy covers all illnesses and injuries, but will not cover pre-existing conditions. In other words, if your pet was already diagnosed with cancer before getting insurance, it will not cover any treatments for cancer. However, if you renew your policy every year, it continues to provide coverage for a recurring illness no matter how many times you need to renew. But, if your pet is older (dogs over 12 and cats over 14), some insurance companies will not provide coverage. There will be a maximum payout limit and deductible with almost all of these policies as well. Life insurance is also offered with this plan from some companies.

Some Interesting Facts

 

  • Some employers have been known to offer pet insurance as a benefit like they do health insurance for people.

  • Many insurance policies (but not all) cover exotic animals such as birds, reptiles, and horses

  • You may be able to get a discount for certain companies you may be affiliated with such as AARP and AAA.

  • Sometimes it is not worth it. You have to weigh your options and decide for yourself whether it is worth the money to pay for insurance or use that money to put aside for any veterinarian bills you may incur. However, this is risky since you cannot predict the future and may have the need for it sooner than you know.

 

It is best to search for yourself and find out the costs and benefits before you decide what to do. There are many companies offering different plans at various prices so you really have to know what you want before you buy. Weigh the pros and cons of pet insurance. Surf the web, make some phone calls, talk to people on social media. Find out whether it is beneficial to you or not. Keep in mind, you never know what is going to happen and it is better to be prepared just in case.